Capitol Watch 3-10-2017

Date 03/10/2017

2017 Legislative Session

By Preston Robertson, Sarah Owen Gledhill and Jay Liles

Conservation Land Funding: For decades, Republican and Democratic Administrations have supported a robust conservation lands program. In 2014, 75% of Floridians voted to set aside dedicated funding for land and water protection by approving Amendment 1, the Water and Land Legacy Amendment.  By the use of targeted land purchases and the wider use of perpetual conservation easements, we can ensure that future Floridians may enjoy the real Florida and its natural wonders. 

The Legislature will make a decision on funding Florida Forever while considering the Appropriations Act, which has yet to be filed and is subject to final passage in the budget conference report. We need full funding for Florida Forever!

Update: The Federation continues to advocate for full funding and we call on you to take action too. Please take action and let your Senators and Representatives know to support Florida Forever!

Everglades Restoration: The Federation supports the creation of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee (SB 10) so that excess water from the Lake may be cleaned and sent south to rehydrate the Everglades and Biscayne Bay. The result would be the mitigation of pollution of the Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee River, and the assurance of water to the Everglades and the Biscayne Aquifer, which one-third of Floridians rely upon.  

Update: Unfortunately, SB 10 has been substantially amended to include funding for water supply development (pipes and pumps). FWF supports bonded funding for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, but this change is problematic. The Amendment also changes the direction of the “state’s major land acquisition programs” (e.g., Florida Forever) from conservation purposes to acquisition and improvements to land and water areas to protect, restore and develop water resources. These amendments are concerning as they seem to be eliminating the possibility of bonding for Florida Forever and diminish the role of conservation land protection which was the intent of Amendment 1 passed in 2014 by the voters. Since the amended version of SB 10 was approved by the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources on 3/8/17, FWF and its allies have been working with the bill sponsors to change the amended language. We need to let them know we need protection of conservation lands which also serve as water recharge areas. This was the purpose of the Water and Land Legacy Amendment.

Ban on Fracking: The Federation supports a ban on fracking in Florida. Fracking, otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, is a process used to explore for oil or natural gas, and involves a process heavy in the use of freshwater and carcinogenic chemicals. As a state with swiss-cheese like karstic geology, fracking’s risk to our precious water supply is too great to allow this activity. SB 442 and HB 451 would ban fracking. Please take action. 

Update: SB 442 was approved unanimously in the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee on 3/7/17. Its next stop is the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources. Thanks to those who supported this bill!

Flood Mitigation IncentivesThe Federation supports measures to incentivize local governments that mitigate impacts experienced by increased flooding. The Federation advocates for increased participation in the Community Rating Systems program and adaptation plans focused on restoring low-lying, flood prone areas to serve as natural buffers and wildlife habitat.

Thank you, 
Your FWF Legislative Advocacy Team 

Take Action:

Florida Forever and Everglades Restoration: Please visit this link to let your Florida Senator know your thoughts.

Ban on FrackingPlease call or write the Speaker of the House, Representative Richard Corcoran, and ask him to support HB 451. Please also contact Representative Holly Raschein, Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee Chair, and express your support. We have provided a sample email below which you may cut and paste or feel free to personalize. 

Richard Corcoran 813-792-5177
Holly Raschein 305-453-1202

###  Sample Email  ###


Dear Speaker Corcoran,

I am writing to you as a concerned citizen about the possibility of fracking in Florida. I am in support of HB 451 and its companion bill SB 442 which ban fracking in Florida. Each bill has bipartisan support in their respective chambers. The fracking process involves the heavy use of freshwater and carcinogenic chemicals. 

Please support HB 451 so we may avoid future risks to our precious water supply from this contentious activity.  


Tags: Capitol Watch, Cap Watch, Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Legislative Session, 2017, Florida Legislative Session 2017, FWF, Florida Wildlife Federation

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